Wildcats on the Rise Entering Final Home Weekend of Regular Season
Oct. 10, 2008
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Of its first 13 games this season, Villanova has had just two in which the outcome was different from the contest before it. That's what you will get in a season that has featured seven straight wins, followed by three straight losses, followed by three more wins in a row.
The Wildcats have won the first three games of this current five-game homestand, a stretch which will conclude with the final two home games of the regular season this weekend. Having already defeated Seton Hall, St. John's and Syracuse over the past two weeks, Villanova would be happy to continue seeing similar outcomes as it gets deeper into the schedule.
The calendar is currently marking the midpoint of the Big East schedule with six conference games remaining, four of which will be against National Division rivals and another of which will be against Mid-Atlantic Region power West Virginia. It will be inevitable over the next few weeks to regularly take account of the league standings, but such peeks around the Big East should be accompanied by a look inward as well.
Thanks to its two winning streaks this year, Villanova has guaranteed itself a 10th consecutive season with at least 10 victories and a 12th straight campaign with at least a .500 record. That means, with six games left, that the Wildcats have put themselves in the desirable position of being able to control their own fate the rest of the way. So many measures exist to examine a team's overall strength but the number in the win column is as good a place as any to start. And double figures in that column after 13 games affords the team a chance to grow that number to one which will ensure another return to postseason play for a team which expects to move on beyond the regular season.
More of the same would be welcome for this Villanova team, which continues to show its tenacity late in games. The Wildcats put a close game against Syracuse away with a pair of goals in the final 15 minutes to thwart any chances of an Orange comeback. The 32 goals the Wildcats have scored this season include 14 in the 70th minute or later and seven in the 80th minute or later.
Villanova also boasts a season-long shutout streak of 291:04 entering play on Friday afternoon. The Wildcats have outscored the opposition 7-0 during the current string of three straight shutouts and in that span have allowed a total of only 12 shots on goal.
Next up for Villanova in its quest to continue its recent successful trends is today's matchup with DePaul. The Wildcats have won the three games played between the teams since the Blue Demons joined the Big East Conference in 2005. Villanova has outscored DePaul, 6-1, in these three games, with just one of the meetings taking place at the West Campus Soccer Complex.
Although the three games against the Blue Demons since 2005 are the only meetings between the programs, a slightly larger sample size for the Wildcats is their collective results against the five former Conference USA teams that made the move to the Big East. Since these teams joined the Big East - the others are Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and USF - Villanova owns a record of 10-2-1 (.808) against them. Both losses have come to Marquette and the Wildcats remain undefeated against the other four.
About DePaul: The Blue Demons have lost six straight games since winning back-to-back contests against Western Illinois and Miami (Ohio) for their only wins of the year. DePaul has given up 28 goals while scoring only 14 of its own, though five of the team's 11 losses have been by just one goal. Michelle Scandora leads the Blue Demons with three goals while Tara Strickland and Jenna Fagerman have each scored twice. Strickland also has a team-high three assists and her seven points lead the team. In goal, Kelsey Hoinkes and Brittni Lally are splitting time. Hoinkes owns a 2.03 goals-against average and Lally has a mark of 2.37.
Hardiman is Fastest to 10: In last Sunday's game against Syracuse, senior Erin Hardiman (Galloway, N.J.) tied a single-season program record with her 10th assist of the year. Hardiman joins Cathy Ford (1983), Ann Brennan (1986) and Marcy Micek (1996) as the only Villanova players who have reached double figures in assists for a season. Of the four players, Hardiman got to 10 helpers the fastest, needing just 13 games to reach the mark. Hardiman is leading the Wildcats in points this season with 18, with four goals to go along with the 10 assists. She now has nine career goals, 20 career assists and 38 career points.
Ryan Moving Up the List: Freshman forward Kaitlin Ryan (Wayne, N.J.) is currently leading the team with seven goals scored and is second on the team with 17 points. Her goal total is the most by a Villanova freshman since Laura Johnson had eight goals during her freshman year in 2001. The record for single-season goals scored by a Wildcat freshman is 13, set by Jean Hajjar in 1985. Additionally, Ryan has a chance to become the first Villanova freshman to lead the team in goals scored since Keri Lages had 11 goals for the Wildcats in 1998.
This Date in Wildcat History: Villanova is 2-4-1 on October 10, including a pair of losses on the same day in 1987 in the first of six appearances the Wildcats would make at the WAGS Tournament. The Wildcats fell 1-0 in overtime to Hartford and then fell by a 2-1 final to George Mason. Villanova recovered to win seven of its last eight games and win an ECAC title along the way.
There have been 67 games in Wildcat history that carried to a second overtime period and Villanova has won nine, lost five and tied 53 of these contests. One of the wins came on this date in 1998, when the Wildcats pulled out a late victory at home against Tulane. The victory was the second in double overtime that season for Villanova and began three-game win streak for the team.
Up Next: The final home game of the regular season takes place on Sunday at 1 p.m. when the Wildcats host No. 1 Notre Dame on Senior Day at the West Campus Soccer Complex.
Kickoff: 4:00 PM